Fiji - the Friendliest Place on Earth

Trip Start Sep 15, 2003
Trip End Sep 14, 2004

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004

BULA from the Fiji Islands!
First off, for the 14 of you out there that have checked the website already this month - even before an update has arrived - THANK YOU! Such a warm fuzzy feeling!
I have contracted a terrible Fijian air-borne disease. It is malicious, and quite debilitating in its hosts. Paul (strangely) has built up some kind of immunity to this illness, although we cannot think why ;0
Laziness...its unavoidable in this country. As they say, from the moment we get off the plane 'You're on Fiji time now'. I literally have lost all motivation to write in my journal, fill in postcards, or even read! Too much work involved! Its a wonderful feeling, but takes awhile to get accustomed to!
Since arriving 10 days ago, we have toured the outskirts of the mainland (Vitu Levu) with Feejee Experience. We spent a night on the Coral Coast and a night in the capital, Suva. Suva is home to 500,000 of the entire national population of 800,000! So you can imagine how much open space there is out here. Many of the 333 islands are uninhabited, so the real life Blue Lagoon strandings could happen here. In fact, this is where the film was created! For 4 nights we stayed on the island of Nananu-ir-a (which translates to Golden Beaches). The atmosphere was lively and we spent our days trekking about the 520 hectare property (which you will see in the pictures) and lazing around on isolated beach front. We have now moved on to another small island just a kilometer off of Lautoka (the second largest city in Fiji). Trust me when I say...THIS is our indulgence! We booked a traditional Fijian bure - which is basically a private hut on the beach - as it was only $2 more than 2 dormitory beds. This place is off the beaten tourist track, and it felt good to get away from the bus, and be surrounded by Fijians. After a quick shuttle ride, we were greeted with fresh guava juice, and the porters (YES, PORTERS!) carried our bags to our bure. It is perfect! Traditionally built out of straw, complete with mosquito nets, woven floor mats, and fresh flowers throughout! Our breakfasts and lunches are included in the rate, and we are eating fresh seafood like it is going out of style! Thats ok, we'll be back to cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in no time! Speaking of food: we tried authentic curried GOAT yesterday! It was one of those things I know we'll never do again, so we couldn't say no. Its not bad! And thats coming from someone who doesn't eat anything other than chicken and fish! My stomach begged to differ mind you! Other highlights of our time here have included: a jungle trek/tubing/longboat expedition, kava ceremonies in modern Fijian Villages, Billybilly rafting, and visiting local school children. Kava is a local drink made from the potent powder of Kava Root. It is crushed, wrapped in cotton cloth, soaked and wrung out into a bowl of water. Although it is legal, it is a sedative and muscle relaxant (aka upper) said to have aphrodesiack qualities - NO WONDER FIJIANS ARE SUCH HAPPY PEOPLE. It is not uncommon to sit around the Kava bowl from 2pm until well after dark!

The next leg of our journey begins in a little more than 48 hours when we fly into Bangkok via both Auckland and Sydney. It is going to be a LONG trip! The planning has begun, and I think these next two months of travel are going to be - by far- the most exotic yet! Stay tuned, and you'll find out why!

Love Paul and Bonnie :)
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